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How to Remove 43 Year-old Shower Head? Login/Join 
That's just the
Flomax talking
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I consider myself a pretty handy guy, but this job worries me. The shower head is original builder instalation. Back then they used pipe thread cement, and now there is 43 years of lime, as well. I am concerned about breaking the solder joint inside the wall if I get too aggressive, and I don't want to bugger the shower head neck. Will heat soften the cement? Any thoughts, experience?
Posts: 11663 | Location: St. Louis, Missouri | Registered: February 04, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Do you have a picture? Heat should soften the cement.
Posts: 18809 | Registered: June 12, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Age Quod Agis
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I would put a pipe wrench on the shower head spigot pipe to stabilize it and ensure that the spigot doesn't rotate when you try to remove the shower head. You can also put some heat on the head to pipe junction as jimmy notes, or, if you have the time, hit it with some penetrating oil to soften up the connection.

Oh, and go gently. Pressure and patience is your friend.

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Posts: 10600 | Location: Central Florida | Registered: November 02, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Fitting the shower head goes into should be anchored. Since showerhead arms are usually brass, it shouldn't be a problem.


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Posts: 2520 | Location:  | Registered: April 11, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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If you can disassemble the shower head from its face, to see inside, you may see if the pipe threads are still good. If so I'd support the nipple with a pipe wrench and try to unscrew the head. If it is soldered you may end up replacing the nipple or shortening it by tube cutter and chasing new threads. I have to date never seen a compression fit shower head.
Posts: 15640 | Registered: December 23, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
God will always provide
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Not a Plumber. but I have very carefully chiseled out broken shower head necks plenty of times. (Owned some rentals awhile back.) The neck pipe is much softer material than the brass base it screws into. "That"s if it breaks."
Posts: 3738 | Location: White City, Florida | Registered: January 11, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Before you try, soak it with Kroil for 24 hours.

Then follow ArtieS's advice.

Nice is overrated

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Posts: 28725 | Location: Loudoun County, Virginia | Registered: May 17, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Joie de vivre
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Please update your post once you have a status of what happened and what you did. I'm curious to know what happened.

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and three or more is a congress.
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Posts: 3388 | Location: 1,960' up in Murphy, NC | Registered: January 29, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Apply some heat don’t go stupid with it. Use 2 wrenches being sure to preload the fixed side wrench. I predict it will come apart much easier than you think.

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Posts: 4667 | Location: southern Mn | Registered: February 26, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Nut cracker. Clamp like device with a sharp, hardened edge on one jaw. Use one to clamp on to the old shower head, breaking the nut/female threads. It will break it and make the piece easier to unscrew. If necessary, chase the threads with a pipe thread die.
Posts: 1674 | Location: south central Pennsylvania | Registered: November 05, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
I Am The Walrus
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I’m amazed a shower head lasted 43 years. How is hat even possible?


Posts: 10465 | Location: Central Florida | Registered: March 12, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Not really from Vienna
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It’s a safe bet the replacement won’t last a tenth of that.

Posts: 24900 | Location: Young American Teen Club | Registered: January 30, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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We have remodeled several houses and I have learned to hate old plumbing because it is brittle and often leaks after you screw with it. If you are not sure call a plumber.

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Posts: 3218 | Location: Florida Panhandle | Registered: September 27, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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outta the oven!

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Two pipe wrenches.

One to hold the pipe from wall super secure so you aren't twisting it in any way. The other on the head itself where it gets all the force.

I tried this with a drain line in a wall for a new sink in my powder room, and ended up cracking the circa-1951 pipe IN THE WALL Mad

Had to call in a plumber who was luckily able to cut in from the other side of the wall in LR rather than bust out a lot of beautiful old tile on the bathroom wall side.

Originally posted by Edmond:
I’m amazed a shower head lasted 43 years. How is hat even possible?

Are you kidding? All the old stuff is built like Soviet tanks. I replaced one that was 67 years old and weighed like 5 pounds.

Posts: 26250 | Location: Pennsylvania | Registered: November 12, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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You can soak a rag in vinegar, and wrap it around the threaded joint. If lime is a problem, the vinegar should help. Muriatic acid would work and be much faster.

Personally I find the heat and quench method provides great results.

Posts: 2902 | Location: West coast | Registered: March 31, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Muriatic acid

Whoa now. That stuff will melt the entire shower head, not sure that's what he needs. At a minimum it will remove all finish from nipple and likely pit it. Also bubble like crazy and be super dangerous.

If for Some reason you try that, wear proper PPE and dilute the hell out of the acid.


Sic Semper Tyrannis
Posts: 15539 | Location: Loudoun County, Virginia | Registered: December 27, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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